Dean Scharf’s MOOC Reaches Notable Milestone

Photo of Co-Dean Michael Scharf

Ten years ago, Coursera asked CWRU Law Professor Michael Scharf to establish a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) in his area of expertise, International Criminal Law.

Coursera had just been established, and Scharf was one of its first online instructors. His Introduction to International Criminal Law course was the world’s first International Law MOOC.

With Russia’s atrocities in Ukraine frequently in the news, interest in International Criminal Law is peaking. Scharf’s MOOC is currently averaging 300 new enrollees a week. On its tenth anniversary this month, it surpassed a total of 160,000 enrollees from 137 countries. It has a 98 percent “thumbs up” rating by those who have taken it.

Scharf’s MOOC begins with excerpts from the famous movie, Judgment at Nuremberg, and comprises eight one-hour units, covering war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, terrorism, piracy, extradition, and international criminal trials. There are writing assignments and quizzes. Scharf periodically updates the readings.

“The MOOC has been a great recruitment tool,” says Scharf, now Co-Dean of the Law School. “Many students who enroll here tell me that they first heard of CWRU School of Law when they took the MOOC.”

The free online course is available at Coursera.